REVIEW: ‘Blade: Vampire Nation,’ Issue #1

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Blade: Vampire Nation #1

Blade: Vampire Nation #1 is a one-shot published by Marvel Comics. It’s written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Dave Wachter, colored by Dee Cunniffe, and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit. Dracula has formed a vampire nation in the ruins of Chernobyl, and the United Nations has agreed to recognize it as a sovereign nation. The catch: Eric Brooks, better known as the vampire hunter Blade, will serve as the new nation’s sheriff. And the Daywalker’s about to be put to the test as a failed attempt on Dracula’s life has him searching for the killer.

Blade’s status as the sheriff of Vampire Nation has been something I’ve been dying to see explored. What happens when a man used to hunting vampires has to keep the peace among them? But apart from a one-shot tying into The Death of Doctor Strange, this hasn’t really been touched upon. Until now. Russell weaves an intriguing plot throughout the one-shot, having Blade use the skills he’d typically use to track and hunt vampires as a detective. His script also doesn’t scrimp on the bad blood between the Daywalker and other vampires. Dracula repeatedly calls him “friend”—something he hates—and the other vampires barely tolerate him.

But the story really shines in its exploration of vampire politics, which is something I’d never thought I’d say. The vampires within Dracula’s nation come from all different walks of life and are essentially predators trapped in a cage. So it’s no wonder tensions are running high; egos are butting up against each other, and Dracula may not be the right man to lead this new nation. Eventually, the story ends with a sobering reminder of how powerful men will do anything to keep that power, and it left a burning desire in me to see more of where it leads.

When it comes to the art, Wachter and Cunniffe deliver the darker-hued, more moody atmosphere that one would expect from a Blade comic. Wachter illustrates vampires of all shapes and sizes throughout the book. Some are dressed in Victorian garb; others are clad in hoodies and jeans. Yet they all bear the same mark of the undead: clammy gray skin and blood-red eyes. And as always, Blade is shown dressed in his jet-black trenchcoat and shades, with his height making him a rather imposing figure. Cunniffe also gives Petit’s narrative captions a neat touch. They’re blood red as well, representing the thirst that Blade has to struggle with as a half-vampire.

This story’s slow burn and nature mean that Blade doesn’t see much action, which might disappoint some fans. However, I welcome the change of pace. Blade has slowly been evolving: first, he joined the Avengers, then became sheriff of Vampire Nation, and soon he’ll encounter his daughter. The best characters go through growth over the years, and he’s no different. It also lets him step out of the “vampire hunter” box that’s limited his stories.

Blade: Vampire Nation #1 finds the Daywalker racing to solve a murder, featuring a slow-burn storyline and appropriately moody art. As next year marks Blade’s 50th anniversary, I hope the state of the Vampire Nation is touched upon sooner rather than later.

Blade: Vampire Nation #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Blade: Vampire Nation #1
4

TL;DR

Blade: Vampire Nation #1 finds the Daywalker racing to solve a murder, featuring a slow-burn storyline and appropriately moody art. As next year marks Blade’s 50th anniversary, I hope the state of the Vampire Nation is touched upon sooner rather than later.

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